Thursday, July 13, 2017

Author Spotlight: Colorblind by Leah Harper Bowron

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM

Leah Harper Bowron is a lawyer and James Joyce scholar. Her article “Coming of Age in Alabama: Ex parte Devine Abolishes the Tender Years Presumption” was published in the Alabama Law Review. She recently lectured on Joyce’s novel Ulysses at the University of London and the Universite de Reims. She lives in Texas and has a daughter named Sarah and a cat named Jamie. For more information about Leah Harper Bowron and her book, Colorblind, please visit here.


Title: Colorblind
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Author: Leah Bowron Harper
Publisher: SparkPress
Publication: July 11th 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5

Historical Fiction books are definitely not on my list of go-to books. I have plenty of Historical Fictions books that I love but most of them end up being war-time books. I don't think I have read very many, if any at all, books taking place in 1968 when segregation was being fought over. Sure, I learned about it when I was in school, but it was such a brief lesson and then we moved on. The only REAL knowledge I have of this time came from the show Any Day Now. I used to watch A LOT of Lifetime TV when I was young and that was one of my favorite shows. So I really appreciate Colorblind because it showed me the truth of how life was back then for people of color and people with "disabilities". 

Lisa was a very complex character. She was bullied beyond anything, her mother was a horrible racist and she had a facial deformity from being born with a cleft palate and cleft lip, the reason why she was teased. Lisa is also burdened with the chore of keeping many secrets because teachers or her mother told her not to say anything. She starts off as a very timid little thing, taking all the crap the bullies threw at her and bottling it up inside. The only person who really knew about the bullying was the house maid. 

Miss. Loomis was the first negro teacher at an all white school. It was horrifying for her and I felt so saddened the entire time I was reading the book because this amazingly beautiful spirited woman was belittled at every turn by KIDS. Yes, the adults were pretty harsh too but these boys who bullied Lisa were now bullying their teacher as well. She might have been fragile but I think the fact that she even took the job in the first place showed her strength. I really wanted everything to be okay for her in the end...

Lisa's mother was portrayed as such a horrible person. This woman thought she could make the world a better place by buying a new dress for everything. She was racist beyond belief and made Lisa keep a lot of secrets from her father.

Lisa's dad was a wonderful man. He was a lawyer for colored people and even though this gave him a bad reputation around the town, he didn't let that bother him. He knew what he was doing was the right thing. 

While school became a little bit easier for Lisa with Miss. Loomis there, she was still having a lot of trouble. She felt it was so unfair the way Miss. Loomis was treated and she really wanted to do something about it. A new girl joined the school. This girl was from a place where she already had black teachers and black students so coming to Lisa's school was weird for her, especially when the one teacher asked the students to write really inappropriate essays. So Lisa gained an ally in her battle against the bullies. By the end of the book Lisa become an extremely brave young lady that her dad had to of been proud of.

In the end, this book was beautiful, horrific and raw. And to see that a lot of the problems that were commonplace in 1968 are still existing today is incredibly disheartening. I really loved the strength and love that Lisa and Ms. Loomis represented even with the pure evil that surrounded them. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.



In Addition: I would just like to add that the author of this book, Leah Harper Bowron, is one of the most selfless authors I have ever met. She has seen the pure ugliness this world has to offer, but she has also seen the beauty and she chose to take that beauty and expand on it. I truly believe we, as the human race, could learn so much from this amazing woman and this book. It was a true honor to be able to work with her on this author spotlight and I hope I get the honor to work with her again. Thank you for being such an amazing person, Leah. The world is a better place because you are here.

1) What inspired you to publish this story?  
This story is based in part upon what happened to me when my all-white public elementary school in Montgomery, Alabama was integrated in 1968.  I was in the sixth grade and the subject of bullying because of my cleft palate and cleft lip.  My African American teacher, the lone product of integration, was the subject of discrimination because of the color of her skin.  Our shared experiences form the basis of this story.

2) If you were given three wishes, what would you wish for?
More friends, world peace, an end to world hunger

3) If a child told you that they were being bullied, what would you say to that child? 
I would tell that child that he or she is safe and that the child did the right thing by telling an adult about the bullying.  I would then try to find out the identity of the bully and attempt to rectify the situation.  I would also closely monitor the situation to attempt to prevent the bully from seeking revenge.

4) Will you be writing any more books?  
Yes.  I am currently writing a non-fiction book about a clairvoyant code which permeates the writings of James Joyce.  I also plan to write more fiction with another Lisa Parker book in the mix.

5) Colorblind took place during 1968 when the world was changing for the better.  How does it make you feel knowing that it is almost 50 years later and America seems to be repeating history with the Black Lives Matter movement?  
It saddens me to see that racism has reared its ugly head once again.  I wrote this book to start a dialogue among today’s young adults about the evils of racism and bullying in the hopes that this generation will not need a movement to do the right thing. 

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